On the 11th of May, 2019, Newcastle Northstars’ forward Dominik Gabaj scored four goals against the Adrenaline in Adelaide. The next day, he scored three goals, recording two hat tricks in the same weekend. Gabaj also picked up four assists across both games, giving him a total of eleven points for the weekend.
How common is the “double hat trick weekend”? When was the last time this was done? Let’s find out.
To find out, the data is coming from a database populated from official AIHL game sheets as published on the League web site. The database only goes back in detail to 2012, as flaws start to appear in the game sheets beyond 2012. So while this is not a thorough analysis of how many times a double-hat-trick-weekend has occurred, it does give us an indication of how frequently it happens.
First of all, let’s find out how many hat tricks have been recorded:
So there’s 240 hat tricks since the start of the 2012 season. Let’s add some dates and names, and we can start looking at how often they happen:
That looks pretty good, so let’s take this list into Excel and see if we can find double-hat-trick-weekends for players.
A formula helps us quickly find which hat tricks happened a single day after another one, so it’s easy to see how many double-hat-trick-weekends we have in our data set.
Here we see an example of the formula, highlighting Stephen Blunden’s double-hat-trick-weekend in 2014. And we can use another formula to tell us how many times a double-hat-trick-weekend has happened:
So in the seven and a half seasons worth of data we have, only five double-hat-trick-weekends have occurred. And by filtering the results, we can see exactly who got them and when:
I can see three interesting things in that list:
- Gabaj’s double-hat-trick-weekend was the first in the League since Wehebe Darge’s in 2015.
- Darge is the only local player on that list
- Only the Adrenaline, Brave and Northstars are represented
I wonder if this could be attributed to teams paying more defensive attention to import players, restricting their scoring chances? Or if it could be due to the improvement in the calibre of goaltending over the years? Either way, seeing a double-hat-trick-weekend is always a good thing (unless you are on the receiving end), and appears to be an increasing rare event.